The curtain has fallen, the house lights have come back up and another campaign on behalf of Children's Hospital is behind us.
We have done well in 1982-83-- very well, indeed. Our total is the second highest of the campaigns in the 35 years that The Washington Post has been running them.
Unfortunately, it looks as if we are going to finish about 10 percent behind last year's best-ever performance. But we have still raised more than a quarter-of-a-million dollars. That ain't hay.
The figures for 1982-83 aren't final yet. Because of our production schedules, it's Thursday morning as I write this. The mail will arrive three more times between now and Saturday night, when the campaign ends. On Monday, I'll report the campaign's "final-final" numbers.
Here are the "almost-finals:"
Grand total: $284,287.70.
Total given this week: $27,668.03.
Donations from individuals: 4,191.
Donations from groups: 640.
That last figure needs a little explaining. Group gifts aren't just checks drawn on company bank accounts. Day after day, from envelope after envelope, stacks of checks have spilled onto my desk, bound by rubber bands, with cover letters explaining that the gang in this office or that has passed the hat and collected money for the kids.
Behind those 640 "group donations," therefore, are checks from about 4,000 individuals. Those folks can honestly say they gave at the office. I've seen the proof.
But the main thing I've seen over the last eight weeks is a steady outpouring of care and concern on the part of people in this supposedly cold, supposedly rootless community. It has been a beautiful sight.
Most donors to the campaign have never had anything to do with Children's Hospital. Many have never even been there. But still they gave -- because a neighbor's kid was helped there once, because their Uncle Harry had his tonsils out at Children's in 1938.
The reasons have been large and small, personal and general. Sometimes, there was no particular reason at all.
As one woman said in a note surrounding a $5 check: "It's like Everest. I'm giving because the hospital is just there."
You readers have been there, too. There in a pinch. There when the hospital and the kids needed you. There in a year when giving to charity was tougher than ever.
You're a credit to this community. You're terrific. Thanks ever so much from my associate, Annie Koch, and from me.
A bit of neglected bookkeeping:
When I reported last month that The Closet of the Greater Herndon Area, Inc., donated $100 to our campaign, I inadvertently omitted a zero. The Closet actually gave $1,000. Apologies to Margaret Kerr, the group's secretary, and its members.
It's hard for parents to believe that the sick child they carry into Children's Hospital today will be a parent him- or herself tomorrow. But that has happened hundreds of times in the 113 years Children's has been open for business, and it elicited a $32 gift the other day from a grateful mother (and now grandmother), Gloria H. Fein of Southwest. She writes:
"I read your column today in The Post and . . . I started thinking about how much Children's Hospital has meant in my life.
"In 1950, I was a brand new mother at age 19. Imagine my distress when my beautiful blond baby boy was rushed to Children's for emergency surgery. The doctor said things like, 'If he pulls through . . . '
"I am happy to say that the beautiful blond baby boy was a healthy 32-year-old on Dec. 12, and has a beautiful blond boy of his own now.
"Thank you, Children's Hospital!"
Last-minute group donors to the campaign include:
Calvert Elks Lodge No. 2620 in Prince Frederick, Md. ($100), the Circuit Provision Center at C & P Telephone ($311.50), the Network Control Center Division at Goddard Space Flight Center ($166 in lieu of exchanging Christmas cards), The Progress Club Foundation, Inc. ($1,000), the staff at the National Institute of Justice ($1,015), the employes of the National Automobile Dealers Association in McLean ($1,277.58) and Wishing Well Antiques of Alexandria ($25).
Employes of the National Center for Devices and Radiological Health at the Department of Health and Human Services contributed $1,460.20. Catholic Daughters-Court of St. Mary's Chapter 1547 in Great Mills, Md., gave $30. The Office of Employment and Unemployment Statistics of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics passed along $50. The Bolling Air Force Base NCO Wives Club contributed $100. The Sounding Rocket Coffee Club at Goddard sent in $100 from the treasury. Armstrong High School Alumni from the Class of 1931 gave the kids $50. And the Washington office staff of the American Medical Association donated $55.
A gift of $250 arrived from nine round dance clubs around the area. Thanks to the Cavaliers, the Donegals, Good & Plenty, the Oz Rounders, the Rapp-a-Rounds, the Rossmoor Rounders, the Roundabouts, the Roundets and the Wizards of Oz.
The customers of Hard Hat Carry Out, which does business beside the construction site at Bolling Air Force Base, kicked in $55.07. Six young carolers out Potomac way went door to door and collected $104.17 (thanks, Linda, Susie, Jo Jo, Leslie, Judy and Glynis). The 60-voice chorus from Music and Drama Productions at Goddard raised $834 at a holiday songfest. The Canal Street Bums, a group of people who commute from the western suburbs with the help of CB radios, passed along $20. And the entire crew at Arlington's Thomas Jefferson Intermediate School donated $52.20 -- proceeds from their December Read-a-thon.
Five departments at Suburban Bank (EDP Division, Comptroller Division, Corporate Services, Auditing and Commercial Loan Accounting) gathered $1,146. Seven C & P departments out in Temple Hills (the Repair Service Bureau, Frame Control Center, Electro-Mechanical Switching Control Center, Network Administration Center, Directory Assistance, Loop Assignment and Distribution Services Installation Center) gave $389. C & P'ers in the Service Order Entry Center in Falls Church collected $609.50. And the folks in the Comptroller's Office at the CIA (the Child Improvement Agency, as Bill Gold dubbed it years ago) made a $100 contribution.
Till next year . . .